Niagara Falls (U.S. Side)
Niagara Falls or Chutes du Niagara en francés, They are a group of waterfalls located on the Niagara River, in the northeast of North America, between Canada and the United States of North America. Located about 236 meters above sea level, its fall is approximately 64 meters. From largest to smallest, they are Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Most of us, when planning this trip, we ask ourselves ... which side should we visit? The answer clearly is that you have to visit both. Here is our post about Canadian Side.
Horseshoe Falls straddle the international border between Canada and the United States, while American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls lie entirely within the United States. Bridal Veil Falls are separated from Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island and from American Falls by Luna Island.
The height of the American Falls varies between 21 and 30 metres (69 and 98 ft) because of the presence of giant boulders at its base, and the American Falls are 320 metres (1,050 ft) wide.
From the U.S. side, the American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park, which also features the Prospect Point Observation Tower and a boat dock for the Maid of the Mist. Goat Island offers more views of the falls and is accessible by foot and automobile traffic by bridge above the American Falls. From Goat Island, the Cave of the Winds is accessible by elevator and leads hikers to a point beneath Bridal Veil Falls.
Also on Goat Island are the Three Sisters Islands, the Power Portal where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla (the inventor whose patents for the AC induction motor and other devices for AC power transmission helped make the harnessing of the falls possible) can be seen, and a walking path that enables views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. Most of these attractions lie within the Niagara Falls State Park.
The Niagara Scenic Trolley offers guided trips along the American Falls and around Goat Island. Panoramic and aerial views of the falls can also be viewed by helicopter. Aerial views to this magnific site, is one of the Things To Do Once in Life.
The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge. A casino and luxury hotel was opened in Niagara Falls, New York, by the Seneca Indian tribe. The Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel occupies the former Niagara Falls Convention Center. The new hotel is the first addition to the city's skyline since completion of the United Office Building in the 1920s.
The Discovery Center is an interactive exhibition that deals with the natural, geological and historical aspects of the area. Very enjoyable for the whole family. The Adventure Theater is a beautiful film about the history of the Niagara Falls. It is in the same visitor center.
ADVANTAGES FOR VISITING THE AMERICAN SIDE
+ The American area has larger parking areas and the price is better than in Canada. Many visitors park on this side and then go on foot to the Canadian side.
+ The environment of the falls is integrated into a State Park and the experience is much calmer and more natural than on the Canadian side. There are many green areas, beautiful islands and there are many paths that offer us a closer view of the strength of the water.
+ The visit is more economical. The attractions and parking are cheaper and in general the restaurants and souvenir shops adjust the prices a little more.
+ The trails near the falls on the American side offer a refreshing experience in summer due to the mist and water spray they form. It's the only option to "get wet" for free at the falls, although you will not get as refreshed as at the Maid of the Mist.
+ The USA side offers better trail options and natural walks.
DISADVANTAGES FOR VISITING THE AMERICAN SIDE
- Perhaps, the views from the Canadian side are better, although from the USA there are some trails that allow you to get close to the falls and some excellent viewpoints, although with more lateral views.
- The American side has many attractions, hotels, shopping areas and restaurants, although there is no doubt that the Canadian zone wins by a landslide in those aspects.
- The area is considered more insecure than on the Canadian side. Outside of the most tourist circuits and especially at night it is not advisable to go inside. To go 100 percent sure to visit the Niagara Falls State Park directly and limit yourself to that area.
+ Niagara Falls is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.
+ The verdant green colour of the water flowing over the Niagara Falls is a byproduct of the estimated 60 tonnes/minute of dissolved salts and "rock flour" (very finely ground rock) generated by the erosive force of the Niagara River itself.
+ The only recorded freeze-up of the river and falls was due to an ice jam on March 29, 1848. Although the falls commonly ice up most winters, the river and the falls do not freeze completely. The years 1885, 1902, 1906, 1911, 1932, 1936, 2014 and 2017 are noted for the falls icing up. In 1912, much of the water coming over the American Falls froze, though a trickle still ran and the falls ran at the other two sites.
*Location: 500 Km southeast from Washington D.C.
*Rates: (All prices are in U.S. Dollars).
Cave of the Winds...$20.
*Duration: One week.
*Warning: U.S. Citizens returning to the U.S. after visiting Niagara Falls Canada are required to provide a US passport, passport card or an enhanced drivers license at the inspection checkpoint. Enhanced licenses are available only for residents of NY,MI,VT & WA. Therefore, if you are a U.S. citizen living in the U.S. and cross the border to Canada and attempt to re-enter the U.S. you will need one of the above listed forms of identification.
If you are not U.S or Canadian citizen, read this link.
*Best time: Summer, when Niagara Falls are both a daytime and evening attraction. Although seeing the frozen waterfalls, it is also a unique spectacle.
*Website: Niagara Falls.